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PM NewsBrief: Dec. 28, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, December 28, 2023.

Governor Considering Another Special Session On Tax Cuts

Gov. Kevin Stitt is considering calling for another special session for tax cuts in early 2024.

Stitt wants to see lawmakers approve a 0.25% personal income tax reduction before the regular legislative session begins on Feb. 5.

The governor touted projections showing the state could have about $458 million more in recurring revenue to spend next year.

But, Senate Appropriations Chairman Roger Thompson urged caution, saying budget figures need to be further analyzed before deciding on a special session.

The Senate abruptly adjourned a special session in October due to the governor's refusal to address questions on proposed tax cuts.

Judge Rules Wind Farm In Osage County Must Be Dismantled

A Tulsa federal judge has ordered the removal of wind turbines on Osage Nation land.

It’s the latest decision in the years-long battle between the tribal nation and a green-energy company.

The judge ruled Enel must dismantle its 150-megawatt wind farm in Osage County.

The 12-year long legal dispute centered around the Osage Allotment Act of 1906, which grants the tribe ownership of mineral rights.

Enel faced allegations of illegally mining rock owned by the tribal nation during the wind project's construction.

By mining without permission, the company violated the tribe’s sovereignty.

Despite orders from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to cease mining activities, Enel continued construction on the wind farm.

The court has ordered Enel to remove 84 wind turbines, costing the company an estimated $300 million.

The ruling sets a precedent for Indigenous land rights and resource extraction cases.

ACLU Calls On Shawnee To Repeal 'No Sit, No Lie' Ordinance, Avoid Litigation

The ACLU of Oklahoma has called on the city of Shawnee to repeal its recently passed "No Sit, No Lie" ordinance, deeming it a First Amendment violation.

In a letter to city officials, the ACLU argued that individuals have the right to use public spaces for speech and solicitation, urging Shawnee to avoid potential litigation.

The letter referenced a past case where Oklahoma City faced more than $1 million in fees after losing a similar lawsuit.

The Shawnee City Manager says he is reviewing the case law and preparing a response to the ACLU's concerns.

Norman Christmas Bird Count

The annual Christmas Bird Count continues into the New Year.

This project allows U.S. bird enthusiasts to help conservationists keep up with bird populations.

The Oklahoma Department of Conservation says the bird count is important for monitoring tallgrass prairie birds in the state.

Department biologist Mark Mowery encourages those at home to participate in the count.

"And so one way to kind of begin that participation process is just to volunteer as a feeder watcher and watch birds in your yard for a few hours," Mowery said.

The Norman bird count takes place New Year’s Eve, from dawn until dusk.

You can learn more about how to participate in the count at audubon.org.

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